President Donald Trump on Wednesday celebrated the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Wilmington, North Carolina.
The president designated Wilmington, North Carolina, as the first American World War II Heritage City, marking the city’s contributions to the war effort.
Trump spoke aboard the retired World War II battleship USS North Carolina.
He noted more than 360,000 Americans from North Carolina fought in World War II and acknowledged the support of over 20,000 workers from the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company in Wilmington.
“These brave Americans raced into the fires of hell to vanquish tyranny, dethrone fascism, and defend the American way of life. You have earned the eternal and undying gratitude of all Americans,” Trump said.
The president thanked World War II veterans in the audience for their contributions to the war effort.
“In America, we don’t tear down the past, we celebrate our heroes, we cherish our heritage, we preserve our history, and we build the future,” he added.
As the president spoke, a thunderstorm gathered above the ship while thunder sounded in the background.
“God is saluting you up there, I tell ya,” Trump said. “We might have to go a little quicker than we thought.” He ended his remarks after about 15 minutes of speaking.
The president gave a shout out to several World War II veterans who joined him for the speech; Greg Melikian, and North Carolina World War II veterans Paul Phillips, Bud Hampton, Norman Meares, and William Borer.
Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams, 97, also joined the president, traveling with him on Air Force One for the trip.
“He’s 100 percent sharp,” Trump said. “I know a 78-year-old that is not so sharp.”
Met a living legend today — Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams. As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of US victory in WWII, it’s bittersweet, knowing so few of the Greatest Generation are still w/us. Honored to elbow bump this American hero & treasure 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/N7ngt17cXI
— Alyssa Farah (@Alyssafarah) September 2, 2020